San Diego Comic-Con saw the announcement of Doctor Strange 2, aka Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness.
There’s a lot to unpack about the implications of the film and the MCU’s multiverse. While Mysterio was pretending to be from an alternate reality, fans know that Marvel hasn’t been joking this whole time. The Ancient One told Doctor Strange in his first film that there were alternate realities that existed.
Presumably In the Multiverse of Madness will introduce a number of popular characters and provide more dimension to Doctor Strange’s character. Throw in its connection to WandaVision, the Disney + series, and In the Multiverse of Madness is poised to offer a completely new corner of the MCU.
It directly connects multiple characters, and the MCU and Disney+ Series.
One of the biggest gripes that fans of the MCU have had is the idea that #ItsAllConnected. The MCU has toyed with this idea before in the Marvel Netflix series and Agents of SHIELD. SHIELD is entering its final season, but Coulson’s presence in the MCU, as well as the show’s mentions of incidents from the films, introduced a concept of connectedness that Disney+ and Scott Derrickson can explore in-depth.
Kevin Feige teased that a powerful sorcerer needs a powerful witch, and it seems like Doctor Strange is poised to help Wanda explore her identity. If the actions of Olsen are any indication, our favorite witch seems poised to become more of a fleshed-out character. It could also hint at a magical connection and a team-up between the two that could shake the foundations of the MCU as we know it.
Having a fully connected film and TV universe will be a welcome change for the MCU.
It will open up an untapped corner of the superhero genre – horror.
Let’s be honest. Superhero storytellers, especially in the MCU, have not figured out how to adapt the horror comic elements of their characters for film.
So far the only character who has come close is Gabriel Luna’s Robbie Reyes in Agents of SHIELD and DC Universe’s Swamp Thing. The situation is ironic given most superhero stories were born out of pulp books – trashy stories that were policed by the Comics Code and featured everything from werewolves to lurid love affairs. Instead, the stories have been replaced by polite shipping, heroic deeds, and continued emphasis on important political messages. The horror elements have gone largely ignored despite the material being there.
Marvel’s imprint Timely Comics had a number of horror books and several major connections to horror characters. The most recent Avengers comic book saw the Avengers battling Dracula and Marvel’s MAX imprint brought fans a story of Werewolf By Night – trying to update the character. Sony will be jumping further into the horror realm with Morbius in 2020 – but the slow creep into the realm of scary comic stories has been just that – slow.
With Doctor Strange, Marvel is poised to gain a leg up on DC Comics and other studios. Horror superhero stories are normally left on the backburner. The success of R rated superhero films like Logan and Deadpool, however, have shown Hollywood that R rated stories can be told. Doctor Strange won’t be R-Rated (as far as we know) but the potential is there and if it does well there’s a good chance that Marvel could jump into a full-blown horror property. Yeah, you wouldn’t be able to take the kids, but it’d be a good way to potentially crack a new audience and usher superheroes into a brand new era.
It offers a new perspective on the Broader MCU, both the cosmic and the multiverse.
An important part of the MCU at large is the cosmic universe. Captain Marvel is poised to step up on the cosmic stage but there seems to be no connection between Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel 2.
The potential for a cosmic connection and possibly broadening the cosmic universe lies in Teyonah Parris who has joined WandaVision as Adult Monica Rambeau. Monica may have a tenuous connection to the cosmic universe but her origin story is very similar to Carol Danvers’s. As the original Captain Marvel and as Photon she has powers that make her positively radiant. It’s worth asking what she’s doing as a part of a magic-based storyline.
Could the MCU be hinting at a magical connection to the cosmic side of the MCU? The original Thor film hinted that magic is science that people don’t understand. If Photon plays a big role in WandaVision it will be interesting to see just what role she’ll play and what impact it will have on the MCU at large.
Doctor Strange could go even farther. While we initially predicted that Mysterio was a big part of the multiverse – he turned out to a fake. The potential of multiverses in the MCU is staggering however and it’s something we discussed before. It’s worth noting that the title is “In the Multiverse of Madness” which sounds an awful lot like Into the Spider-Verse…
The possibilities are endless!
What do you think of the potential for Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness arrives in theaters May 7th, 2021